i'll be honest, sometimes maine pisses me off. the entire state photographs well. it's like one of those lucky people who take great photos in any situation or outfit.
keep in mind this is coming from a guy born and raised in kansas. a beautiful state in it's own right, but a state that makes you work for a great pic of her. kansas has the ability to take breathtaking photos, but you usually need some dramatic lighting such as one of its world famous sunsets. kansas also has to be wearing a good season, usually looking best in late summer or autumn, but also dangerously beautiful in a late spring storm attire. kansas is minimalistic, she forces you to focus on other items such as composition, texture or contrast. in the right photographer hands, kansas can be absolutely stunning.
now take maine, strutting down the runway all confident with her rocky seaside coastline, lighthouses, endless foliage, mountain vistas, wildlife, ocean views and cobble stone streets running through quaint historic new england villages. she looks great in all kinds of light and seasons. maine is the type of state that can be photographed unaware by the paparazzi wearing sweatpants and bean boots, stuffing her face with a lobster roll and still look gorgeous.
what got me started on this rant was a photograph i took recently of the pemiquid point lighthouse. i walked down the coast, pointed my camera back to the lighthouse and got a beautiful shot. as happy as i was with the picture, i'm very aware that a drunk monkey could have captured the same thing. maine is gorgeous, that's all there is to it.
as much as i enjoy trying to capture maine in different and unique ways, i'll admit, sometimes i miss trying to make that little sunflower leaning against the wall look beautiful.
two gorgeous states with their beauty captured in different ways.
this year maine was blessed with an extended summer with warm temperatures continuing well past the end of september. during one of those late september weekends our friends invited us out on their boat to soak up as much of this late season sun as we could. having experienced a maine winter last year we jumped at the chance.
it wasn't anything more than enjoying a few hours of sunshine from a the back of a boat and doing a little island hopping but it really did feel like a gift. i'm learning [mainers] hold their summers to be very important and it was great to be sharing this warm weather appreciation in the company of good friends.
if you've followed this blog for the past year, you'll know that boothbay harbor is one of our favorite towns. we visited it for the first time a year ago, when my wife had to work the [fishing for fashion] event during the annual boothbay harbor festival. when she was asked to host the event again this year, we decided the only thing that could make boothbay harbor better would be to invite four of our friends along. as the weekend unfolded, that assumption was correct.
as weekends with good friends normally go, two days together created a million little anecdotes and inside jokes between all of us, but one of the more memorable moments involved all of us on a boat along with a freak rainstorm. halfway into taking the boat taxi into town we got drenched by a spontaneous deluge of rain. we were all soaked from head to toe. thankfully boothbay harbor is a tourist town with lots of souvenir shops which allowed all six of us to buy boothbay harbor hoodies and sweatshirts to have something dry to put on when we got off the boat. so there we were, all six of us walking through town, enjoying restaurants, listening to bands and drinking at bars looking like a living advertisement for this fantastic city.
when the group wants to go out, but one of your friends has to work...
you dress up!
this summer, our friend ted, had to emcee the "owls head transportation museums barnstormers ball!" though he had to work, our little group thought it would be the perfect event to go to as well! with the theme being, "gin and jazz" we all got dressed up in our roaring 20's best and headed up the maine coast. the night was spent eating amazing food, swing dancing to an actual big band orchestra and gallivanting with friends against the back drop of biplanes and studebaker's. gatsby himself would have been impressed!
what can i say other than the entire evening was the bees knees! although we were supporting our friend ted during "working hours" its little events like this that seem to bring a group of friends even closer!
this summer, my wife and i went to the annual st. peters italian bazaar festival and had a wonderful time. it was a perfect summer weekend to be outdoors. we enjoyed a few games, some absolutely wonderful cannoli's and witnessed one of the crazier events i've ever seen, the greased pole competition. as much as we enjoyed the day the best moments were later that evening. we ran into the wonderful lady who helped coordinate our wedding with the church, who lovingly asked us how the first two months of marriage had been. later on, as i was trying to purchase my third cannoli of the evening, the lady taking my cash recognized my wife from being an anchor on the local news. that led to a wonderful 10 minute conversation discussing how much she enjoyed watching my wife on the news and how much we had enjoyed the festival, putting smiles on all our faces.
we not only left the festival that night full of the absolute best cannoli's i've ever had, but also realizing that after a year and a half in our new home, we were starting to feel a part of the community, which is a wonderful feeling.
a couple years back i wrote about the worst crit i
ever had in architecture school. the crit was for a case study of the
gropius house. fifeteen years after that fateful day, i had the chance to visit the house in person.
the gropius house
holds a special place in my architectural heart. coming from
engineering school, i entered the college of architecture without fully "understanding" architecture, and my first crit
proved that. however after it was explained to me exactly why this
house is special, i slowly started to understand the magic of good
architecture and thoughtful design. lessons learned during that crit are represented in every project i work on. i will be eternally grateful to the
gropius house for that reason.
living in portland
maine, i'm now only 2 hours away from it's location. this past
summer, as we were heading to massachusetts to visit friends, my wife
and i made a stop in lincoln to visit it. it was incredible! it's a strange
feeling to have studied something so well and then see it in person.
it's similar to seeing your favorite band play your favorite song live.
no matter how many times you've played that song it will sound better
live. it's the same thing with architecture.
i know an
architect writing about "how there's just something about being in the
space" is nothing new....but for me this visit was special. this house represents the reason i love architecture and why i enjoy being an architect. i got to
see gropius "live" and it rocked!
getting back into golf is a easy as ridding a bike. if it's possible to ride a bike really incredibly awful.
this summer i went out golfing for the first time in over a year, and it wasn't pretty. in my mind there are a million different reasons why i was so bad, but the simple fact is golf makes you work for it's affection. to play well you have to practice and play a lot. golfing only once a year will make you look like a golfer that only golfs once a year. thankfully i had a few shots that proved to my group i had indeed picked up a golf club before.
although my score was higher than i would have liked, it was still a great morning, and i got to cross maine of my golf list.
i don't go to wilco concerts to listen to the music...
i go to time travel.
i discovered wilco in the fall of 2002 with their album "yankee hotel foxtrot." i was twenty one, in college and had just switched majors into architecture. i was at an age where i started to feel like i was thinking for myself. my tastes, style and preferences on everything were changing. in a way, i felt i was shedding the shell of my youth and looking ahead to a whole new adult life in front of me. it was new, it was confusing, it was exciting and a little scary. yhf couldn't have been a more perfect album to discover during this time. i've been a fan of wilco ever since hearing the opening song to that album "i'm trying to break your heart" and they've been a huge part of my life soundtrack since.
when i go to a wilco concert and they start playing my favorite songs, i'm immediately transported in time and taken back to different spots along my adulthood timeline.
when i hear "jesus etc." i'm taken back to late nights in studio working on architecture projects with my best friends.
when i hear "heavy metal drummer" i think of my friend beth when she lived in chicago, talking to her on the phone about relationships and getting her female perspective on any crazy situation i was dealing with.
when i hear "humming bird" and "handshake drugs" i think about living in san diego away from friends and family. i think of my co-worker scott and how after discovering i liked wilco as well, he gave me a bunch of old wilco albums and other bands like uncle tupelo, golden smog and loose fur to listen to.
when i hear "either way" i think of my first break-up.
when i hear "impossible germany" i think of living in my very own apartment by myself.
when i hear "sky blue sky" i think about walking in downtown wichita.
when i hear "one wing" i'm taken back to friday nights hanging with friends at lucky's.
when i hear "art of almost" i think of taking one last trip to kansas city before moving away from the midwest.
when i hear "if i ever was a child" i think about planning my wedding and picking music for the reception.
i realize none of these memories mean anything to you and they're not suppose to; they're mine, but maybe you have different songs from different bands that take you back in time...and that's what makes music absolutely magical. it really is the best form of time travel i know. all you have to do is put on headphones and press play.
thank you wilco for being the doc brown to my marty and helping me go back in time whenever i hear your music.
the difference between last summer and this summer? last summer i was discovering events, this summer i'm looking forward to events.
one of those events is the yarmouth clam festival. we had a blast last year and couldn't wait to attend this year as well. it's not so much about the clams as it is about just being outside and enjoying the summer and maybe enjoy some lime rickeys! to be honest i'm not exactly sure what it is, but i do know they taste great on a hot summer day.
summer is a sacred season in maine and the yarmouth clam festival seems to be one of the more sublime celebrations to attend.
ugliness is subjective. what seems ugly to me might be totally beautiful to someone else.
case in point, i think the salk institute is one of the most beautiful buildings i've ever seen, my mom thinks it's one of the ugliest. this difference in opinion has always fascinate me. do i think it's beautiful because i studied architecture and i've been told it's beautiful? or is it, in fact, an ugly, cold, pile of concrete?
to answer this, or any question whether a building is [ugly] or not, i like to judge buildings against the same traits i find ugly in people.
i don't think it's any stretch of the imagination to say that if someone had these qualities, they might not be getting "swiped right" too often 'cause they are indeed ug-ly. i find the same holds true with buildings.
i think dishonest buildings are ugly. if a building promises or eludes to one thing on the exterior and it's false once you get inside, that's an ugly quality. if a building uses fake stone or brick as a material, to me it's the same thing as someone lying to my face. false windows, false fronts, faux this, imitation that...all just lies. the more lies told, the uglier it becomes.
i think inappropriate buildings are ugly. i'm not a huge traditionalist at all, but if someone were to build a sleek and modern glass house in between a block of historic brick townhouses, i would find that inappropriate and therefore ugly. the building doesn't have to be traditional but it should pick up some cues from it's context. i feel buildings should be appropriate for their surroundings. there are times and places to be loud and flaunt it on center stage and there are times when you need be quiet and blend in. a building should know the difference.
i think an unorganized building it is ugly. granted i know many people who are unorganized that i wouldn't call ugly, but when someone is organized....it's just so damn sexy! seriously, when a complicated program can be organized into a simple plan, it's one of the most beautiful things in the world; an unorganized plan is the ugliest. lord knows an unorganized plan will only lead to an unorganized elevation, and then there's no hope for this ugly beast in front of you.
i think negative buildings are ugly. buildings, as well as people should always leave this earth better than they found it. whether a building does that by creating a better space for people, use less energy, encourage alternative forms of transportation, give a new perspective to a view or simply make it's occupants smile, a building should have a positive impact on this world.
people come in all different shapes, colors, heights, widths, types and styles and buildings should too. there are however some core traits i feel make people [ugly] and the same can be said about buildings.
so, looking at that criteria, yes mom, the salk institute is in fact a beautiful building.
and you're a beautiful person.
please check out other architects view of [ugly] with the links below
Lee Calisti, AIA - Think Architect (@LeeCalisti) ugly is ugly